Search engine optimization (SEO) basics
Search Engine Optimisation (also called SEO) is one of the most important marketing activities for your shop. Through SEO you can improve your search engine rankings for certain search terms (keywords).
In general, we differentiate between onpage SEO and offpage SEO. All SEO activities that take place directly in your shop are onpage - for example the optimisation of texts. Offpage measures include getting links from other websites.
Why is SEO important?
The vast majority of Internet users only view the first search result page of search engines like Google or Bing. Therefore, you gain much visibility if you can position your online shop on the first page – preferably as one of the top results. A good ranking is important to get more visitors and buyers via search engines.
How do search engines rank the results?
The ranking of search engines is a very complex process that makes sure that only the most relevant results are ranked highly.
Google uses powerful software – so-called crawlers – to scan all the data on the web. Web pages are then indexed by Google’s database. Crawlers use links to navigate from page to page. They scan every page for keywords and synonyms. They also assess the quality of content. For instance, they quantify the number of links that point to that page and the relevance of links, among many other factors.
How to write search engine optimised content
When writing the texts for your online shop – like product descriptions or FAQ pages for instance – you should always have some rules in mind:
1. Offer quality content
Even though SEO is a useful technique to promote your online shop, you still must keep in mind that you are writing your content not for Google, but for visitors to your shop. Your texts should always have a high level of quality and authenticity. You should always ask yourself this question: Is this content relevant and helpful for my customers? If users spend time in your shop, this is good for your ranking: In its indexing algorithm, Google might take into account the bounce rate and time spent on each page.
2. Unique and original content
To rank highly on Google, you should always use unique content that is not available anywhere else on the web.
3. Formatting text
When you write a text for the web, there are some technical rules to follow regarding the HTML layout of your content. It is preferable in particular to use titles, headings, bulleted lists and keywords in bold.
Links and your online shop
As you already learned, Google crawlers search the web for links from one website to another. To improve your ranking, it is very important that other websites link to your shop.
Here are some tips on how to get more links.
1. Content is king
As mentioned, you should always strive to deliver quality content. If it is interesting and unique, there is a bigger chance that internet users, bloggers and others share your content via links.
2. Sharing on social networks
In order to have links pointing to your shop, you can begin by sharing your own content on your social network pages. But do not spam the web with too many links to your shop. Google punishes spam and your ranking could be damaged. Your communication on social networks should be authentic and tailored to your target group. Engage with your customers for example via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
3. Internal links
You can create links between the pages of your shop. If these links are relevant and justified, it can only add value to your site. Your visitors can navigate more easily and Google also regards this as positive.
Keywords and phrases
When web pages are crawled by search engines, every word is taken in consideration to determine the top keywords of this page. Thus, it is advisable to think about the keywords related to your industry. Make a list of these keywords and look for synonyms. Consider also the principle of the long tail: You can use many different niche keywords.
What is a good keyword?
Most people use common words when they are searching the web. Your keywords must also be adapted to your target group. If you are targeting teenagers, you might have to use different keywords than for older people.
A good keyword should be able to generate traffic to your site, be highly competitive and be relevant to bring you qualified visitors that are more likely to buy something. You can also use keyword phrases with a combination of 3 or 4 words for which there is little competition.
Tools to find the right keywords
This trick reveals some of the keywords that people use most often. Simply type a word into the Google search bar and you can see a list of expressions which are searched often
Associated keywords from Google
When you do a search on Google, you can see a list of associated keywords at the very bottom of the page.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
The Keyword Planner is one of the most useful tools in terms of SEO. You can look up keywords and see how often they are used by Google users. You can also find great suggestions for related keywords.
Image file names
As mentioned before, Google does not index text within images. However, you can use images to improve your ranking. You can give them meaningful and keyword-rich file names. So instead of using file names like “IMG2415.jpg”, you can use “chicago-bulls-basketball-jersey.jpg”.